Sunday, August 2, 2020

Ancestry Library Edition Temporary Remote Access Extended Again — Now Available until End of September 2020

One of the temporary online resources that developed out of these COVID-19 times is the temporary remote access of Ancestry Library Edition thanks to its providers ProQuest and Ancestry.com. This resource is accessible via the website of the library that issued your library card if that library has a library subscription to Ancestry Library Edition and that library's website setup meets certain requirements and the library has requested this temporary remote access.

Looking at our favorite library's genealogy pages we have learned this wonderful resource has been extended again until the end of September. As we said last month, according to ProQuest this temporary remote access will be re-evaluated monthly.

So, we patrons of the Suburban Library Cooperative libraries and many other library systems across the United States and Canada can continue to keep on researching while we stay safe to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

You can access Ancestry Library Edition by signing into the website of the library that issued your library card and then clicking the link to Ancestry Library Edition. You will be taken to the Ancestry Library Edition home page and from there you can search to your heart's content.

Ancestry Library Edition has no personalized features so among other things you can not access while using it is your personal Ancestry online tree nor can you link records to it if you have one. Regardless of whether you have an online tree or tree in a genealogy program on your computer, you will need to remember to download your record image finds with their source information and add them to your genealogy trees manually so you have access to that information in the future.

To compliment this online resource, remember that the Macomb County Genealogy Group has created an overview video on our YouTube channel. This video is An Overview of Ancestry Library Edition. After explaining the differences between Ancestry Library Edition and a personal home Ancestry.com subscription, we walk you around the Ancestry Library Edition website and some different ways to start searching for your ancestors.

We hope you are able to utilize this genealogy resource (Ancestry Library Edition) and learn something new about your ancestors.

If you need help starting genealogy see our MCGG Beginner's Packet for Family Research on our Research Help page.

Remember to have fun researching your ancestors everyone. And stay safe.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!
LE

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Some News on Ancestry's Update of its AncestryDNA Matching Formula

We spotted some news regarding Ancestry's planned update of its AncestryDNA Matching formula. Some of it will now be done in stages with the main aspect of the change now taking place in late August rather than very shortly.

We reported on this planned update in a July 17, 2020, post. After explaining the planned changes in that post we covered the three ways to save small centimorgan matches from the planned tossing of the pool water and gave suggestions on what to do to find and review DNA Matches in the 6 cM to 8 cM range that may have value to you. See that blog post for details.

The stages of the AncestryDNA matching formulate update are now:

In the beginning of August, the rounding of the centimorgans shared that came with the last change in matching equations will go back to using/showing the decimal point so you can clearly see which matches are truly 8.0 cM or above and which are actually less than 8.0 cM and will be the ones to disappear with the newest matching equation.
 

In the middle of August, you will see the length of your longest shared centimorgan segment.
 

In late August, DNA matches must share 8.0 cM or higher so those less than that will disappear unless one of the three things mentioned our July 17th post have been done. And, yes, it has been clarified that starred matches count as a group.

If we hear of any other changes to the planned update we will let you know.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library! (Some day soon.!)

LE

Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Be Aware! Security/Privacy Breach at GedMatch.com, Possibly Leads to Phishing Attempt at MyHeritage.com — Big Difference in Company Handling of Situations; Also "White-Hackers" Identify Unsecured MacKiev Server, Now Fixed It is Unknown if Actual Access was Gained

Note: This post was originally published at 9:20 p.m., Tuesday, July 21, 2020. Additional information was added.

It has been a rough time for DNA and genealogy this week. How bad is it? We do not know. And things are still developing. But being aware of what has taken place and not panicking will help us get through it.

On Sunday, July 19, 2020, there were some weird things noted by users of the GEDmatch.com website so much so they contacted the website's owners. Some saw strange match kits, some saw what appeared to be hundreds of new really close matches, some noticed that they were seeing law enforcement test kits, some noticed that the settings of their kits (some previously set to non-law enforcement) were now all open to law enforcement viewing.

Some wondered if it was an update gone bad, some wondered if a security or privacy breach had occurred or was occurring. The GEDmatch website went offline several times. Eventually the company made a statement Sunday afternoon (our time) on its Facebook page and has since added a couple additional statements. At this time the last message says the website will be offline for two to three days as security is enhanced.

Exactly what was compromised is not clear. A statement last night in the 7 p.m. time range by GEDmatch (Verogen is its owner) says that all user test kits were switched to open to law enforcement viewing for at least three hours on Sunday. And, law enforcement administered kits were viewable by others too. It says that no user data was downloaded or compromised. But GEDmatch is likely still investigating what happened.

It has been three days since the breach and GEDMatch/Verogen has failed to directly contact/email GEDmatch account holders to inform ALL of its users of the situation. It has again simply relied on its GEDmatch Facebook page to make the announcement (not everyone is on Facebook) and the news page of its corporate website. We actually just learned of this incident earlier today (Tuesday.)

Earlier this evening, Tuesday, July 21, MyHeritage.com announced on its blog that a few of its MyHeritage users alerted them of a malicious phishing attempt possibly connected to the GEDmatch breach

MyHeritage.com's announcement is detailed in what was discovered, how it was discovered and the actions it quickly took to limit damages as much as possible. Actions that all took place hours before the announcement was released. Essentially some MyHeritage customers received phishing emails that lead to a fake website set up to look like the MyHeritage.com website all in attempt to gain user's login credentials -- their usernames and passwords. The fake website was set up with a Q instead of g. 

With the help of the users who reported the scam, MyHeritage suspects that the phishing scam is related to the breach at the GEDmatch.com website. According to the blog post, one user used a unique name at GEDmatch.com website that was only associated with that site and not the user's MyHeritage.com website.

MyHeritage has taken steps to get the fake website taken down from its domain and host entities.

MyHeritage is warning users of the fake email and that if it is received do not click on it just delete it. (See the MyHeritage blog for an image of the fake email.)

MyHeritage, who suspects at the very least that names and emails were stolen from GEDmatch, is also warning that GEDmatch users who uploaded DNA tests from AncestryDNA, 23andMe, FamilyTreeDNA, etc. be aware and on the alert for similar phishing emails based on these other DNA testing company websites.

As a precaution, MyHeritage has temporarily turned off the ability to export DNA data from MyHeritage. The company is also suggesting everyone update their various passwords just to be safe. Make sure they are unique so don't use the same password on multiple websites.

Now for the other security matter ...

If you have read or watched any tech-related books, movies or television shows you have probably heard of the term hacker. The simple definition is hackers use computers to gain unauthorized access to data. But various shades of hackers have developed over time. White-Hat Hackers choose to use their skills for good, or ethical reasons, and they may or may not work for companies employed to test/fix data systems for security holes or flaws, etc.

Recently, it was reported that WizCase "found a data leak affecting an open and unencrypted ElasticSearch server that belongs to Software MacKiev." The company contacted MacKiev about the leak and though it did not receive a response back from MacKiev the exposed database was immediately secured.

In this article, it reports that the mis-configured server exposed information of approximately 60,000 users (some are duplicates) and complaints sent to customer support and vulnerable data about their physical location. Reportedly exposed data included: email address, internal system user IDs, subscription type and its status, refunds (if applicable), timestamps, user location data including geolocation coordinates and cities, IP address, user support messages, technical data such as error logs.

The article reports that if cybercriminals or scammers had accessed the leak, possible threats could include spam and phishing; fraud; technical vulnerabilities; business espionage to name a few.

BUT It is important to note that the original article does not say that the Software MacKiev server was actually accessed, hacked or exploited by cybercriminals or scammers. Some subsequent posts and articles on other sites seem to give the impression that an actual incident occurred but that is not what the article states. 

Users of Family Tree Maker will not know for sure until Software MacKiev addresses the situation itself.* To do so, MacKiev will need to do a review (an autopsy of sorts) of the server access in order to determine if there was any unauthorized access of the server during the time of the server mis-configuration.

* Additional information found late tonight: Hiding in the Family Tree Maker Support pages is a very brief message called Data Security Article that acknowledges the article, assures the data is safe and promises a more detailed post will hopefully be made soon.

The exposed data mentioned above does not include usernames and passwords but if you want to error on the side of caution, perhaps you might consider changing the passwords to your Ancestry and FamilySearch accounts. Changing your passwords should be a normal routine anyways to secure your electronic life.

So, overall do not panic, stay aware and do not click on messages automatically. Look, review, question ... is a message, a link, etc. real.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library! (Some day soon.)
LE

Temporary Remote Access Extended until End of August for Ancestry Library Edition

One of the temporary online resources that developed out of these COVID-19 times is the temporary remote access of Ancestry Library Edition thanks to its providers ProQuest and Ancestry.com. This resource is accessible via the website of the library that issued your library card.

Looking at our favorite library's genealogy pages we have learned this wonderful resource has been extended again until the end of August. As we said last month, according to ProQuest this temporary remote access will be re-evaluated monthly.

So, we patrons of the Suburban Library Cooperative libraries can keep on researching!

You can access Ancestry Library Edition by signing into the website of the library that issued your library card and then clicking the link to Ancestry Library Edition. You will be taken to the Ancestry Library Edition home page and from there you can search to your heart's content. Ancestry Library Edition has no personalized features so among other things you can not access your personal Ancestry online tree or link records to it if you have one. So you will need to remember to download your record image finds and add the information to your genealogy trees manually.

To compliment this online resource, remember that the Macomb County Genealogy Group has created an overview video on our YouTube channel. This video is An Overview of Ancestry Library Edition. After explaining the differences between Ancestry Library Edition and a personal home Ancestry.com subscription, we walk you around the Ancestry Library Edition website and some different ways to start searching for your ancestors.

We hope you are able to utilize this genealogy resource (Ancestry Library Edition) and learn something new about your ancestors.

If you need help starting genealogy see our MCGG Beginner's Packet for Family Research on our Research Help page.

Remember to have fun researching your ancestors everyone. And stay safe.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!
LE

Friday, July 17, 2020

Act Quick! Ancestry to Update AncestryDNA Match Formula, Matches Under 8 centiMorgans will be Lost

Have you tested your or a family member's DNA at AncestryDNA?

The news on the web in the last day or so is that Ancestry now has 18 Million tests sold. But more importantly Ancestry is in the process of updating its matching formula and very soon AncestryDNA tests are going to lose some matches -- specifically those 8 centiMorgans and below. (Currently the minimum match is 6 cMs.) It is not clear if 8 cM is the new minimum or if tests will lose those matches at 8 cM too.

Unlike the last change in the algorithm matching formula, this time AncestryDNA test owners/administrators are not getting the opportunity/option to download a test's matches as a CSV file before the change. (Very disappointing Ancestry!) Note: this update will not change ethnicity estimates.

So, because Ancestry recently sent "Cease and Desist" letters to various third-party DNA services and their very helpful analysis tools are no longer available to those with AncestryDNA tests, what can we do? (We talked about these third-party DNA services at our last in-person Let' Talk...Genealogy meeting in March.)

According to various bloggers and other sources, those with AncestryDNA tests will have manually review each test's matches and make sure they have done at least one of three things in order for a low centiMorgan match to NOT disappear after that change in matching formula.

1. Add a match to a user-defined group (one of those 24-color circles).
Hopefully you have been using these color-coded groups to create surname groups to help sort your matches. Don't want to mess up your surname groups? Do you have an undefined color group available? If yes, create a new group and call it something like 2ReviewMatch. The number will put the group at the top of this list and make for less scrolling if you have a lot of groups set up.

2. Enter something in the note field.
Hopefully you have been using the notes field to keep track of who the match is and how you are related along with the Most Recent Common Ancestors your and the match share.

3. You have sent a message to the match (other member).
We do not suggest you flood every one of your matches with a  message.

If you have stuck some matches in the trash, decide if you need to rescue any from the trash and do one of the three things listed above in order to cause Ancestry to keep the low centiMorgan match.

In addition, this change in the matching formula will likely effect Thru-Lines matches. Some Thru-Lines and DNA matches could disappear. So review each of your tests' Thru-Lines and take screen captures to record your current Thru-Line matches just in case they change. And for any Thru-Line DNA Match make sure you have done at least one of the three things -- add a note, assign a group, send a message -- so you don't lose that DNA match after the match formula change. You might lose the Thru-Line but doing one of the three options should keep the match in your DNA Match list.

[Note: If you need to know how to make a screen capture, check out the Tech Tip video on our YouTube Channel.]

Ancestry is doing this (updating its formula) to remove false matches/matches by chance. But the reality is that some valid matches might get lost when the pool water is tossed out. One change that will come with the AncestryDNA update is the addition of information on the largest segment size shared with a match. But we suspect that we should not hold our breath for Ancestry to give AncestryDNA users a much desired chromosome browser like what is available at every other single DNA/Genealogy testing company.

Now you are probably asking how do I decide which of these small centiMorgan matches might be helpful to keep. There are several ways.

Start by looking at the Shared Matches of your Known Matches (those matches that you know who and how you are related) and making sure these shared matches all have a note or one of the color-coded groups assigned to each match. 

Doing this will catch those shared DNA matches with and without trees.

Applying a color-coded group is probably the quickest way of the three possible methods to keep a low centiMorgan match.

If you have a lot of surname groups but do have a few unassigned color groups, create (on each DNA test administrated) a group called 2ReviewMatch and assign any match desired to be kept to this group. Adding a separate group, ensures your surname groups are kept to just those that have been confirmed as being from that surname. And it gives a quick way to keep these smaller matches that might be of value.

Next look click on the Common Ancestors filter and look through all those DNA matches and the Shared Matches of each of those DNA Matches with whom you share a Common Ancestor. Add a note or assign a group to any match you want to keep. This will catch those DNA matches with trees.

Search each test's match list for the each family surname in that test's pedigree. Add a note or assign a group to any low centiMorgan matches you want to keep. This will catch those DNA matches with trees.

Search each test's match list for the locations where you know your ancestors settled. While you could include a surname in this search doing the search without a surname will catch more matches. It is likely someone in the family was born there. And again add a note or assign a group to any low centiMorgan matches you want to keep. This will catch those DNA matches with trees.

As an example, if your ancestors came to Macomb County do a birth location search for "Macomb County, Michigan, USA" with no surname to catch any DNA match with someone born in Macomb County in their tree. Add a note or assign a group to each match so the match will survive the match formula change. You could also search by city or township but searching by county should catch any location in the county. Repeat for any location your ancestors lived or had children born.

You can also search by username either for a specific person or for any username containing a surname you are researching.

You can also search by Shared DNA filter looking at all matches from 6 cM to 8 cM and scroll thru the resulting list looking at the usernames. Realize that you may have thousands upon thousands of DNA matches in the range of 6 cM to 8 cM. Many are likely matches by chance rather than matches by descent.

The point at the moment is to make sure you complete reviewing each of your DNA tests for any low centiMorgan matches that might be of value to you before Ancestry implements the new matching formula. Word on the web is that this change over will happen in August. But since an exact date is unknown assume you have to act as quickly as possible.

A banner on the AncestryDNA page went up last night announcing the impending change.

For an estimate of the time involved, it took about three hours to do a review of the matches of this author's own test. It took about two hours each to review the administrated tests of a parent and two uncles (one from each side). To review each full-sibling's test will likely take just as long for each as reviewing one's own test.

Good luck everyone. Hopefully you discover something new while doing this review.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library! 
(Some day in the future. Please be patient.)
LE

Friday, June 26, 2020

Temporary Remote Access Extended until End of July for Ancestry Library Edition

One of the temporary online resources that developed out of these COVID-19 times is the temporary remote access of Ancestry Library Edition thanks to its providers ProQuest and Ancestry.com. This resource is accessible via the website of the library that issued your library card.

Looking at ProQuest's support page we have learned this wonderful resource has been extended until the end of July. According to ProQuest this temporary remote access will be re-evaluated monthly.

So, we believe patrons of the Suburban Library Cooperative libraries can keep on researching! If we hear otherwise we will let you know.

You can access Ancestry Library Edition by signing into the website of the library that issued your library card and then clicking the link to Ancestry Library Edition. You will be taken to the Ancestry Library Edition home page and from there you can search to your heart's content. Ancestry Library Edition has no personalized features so among other things you can not access your personal Ancestry online tree or link records to it if you have one. So you will need to remember to download your record image finds and add the information to your genealogy trees manually.

To compliment this online resource, remember that the Macomb County Genealogy Group has created an overview video on our YouTube channel. This video is An Overview of Ancestry Library Edition. After explaining the differences between Ancestry Library Edition and a personal home Ancestry.com subscription, we walk you around the Ancestry Library Edition website and some different ways to start searching for your ancestors.

We hope you are able to utilize this genealogy resource (Ancestry Library Edition) and learn something new about your ancestors.

If you need help starting genealogy see our MCGG Beginner's Packet for Family Research on our Research Help page.

Remember to have fun researching your ancestors everyone. And stay safe.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!
LE

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Check Out the Proposed Renovation Video of Mount Clemens Public Library -- Our Favorite Library

We have been on a short hiatus. We hope you are safe and well and scored some genealogy deals this past Father's Day. Maybe you have gotten some genealogy done besides the ever present yard work too.
A screen capture showing the outside of the proposed renovation.

Check out the YouTube Channel of our favorite library, Mount Clemens Public Library, and its new video showing the proposed library renovations. Take note of the changes, some are remarkable. Yes, this is the same building, same place. As it has been described: take the building remove the insides and re-think them and while you are at it renew the outside too.

While you are there, take a look at MCPL's video on its new pickup procedures for items checked out.

See you soon at Mt. Clemens Public Library!
LE